CHARGED: A South Burnett man stole police car keys when officers responded to a brawl outside Kingaroy's Commercial Hotel.
CHARGED: A South Burnett man stole police car keys when officers responded to a brawl outside Kingaroy's Commercial Hotel.

Man steals cop car keys while officers arrest mate

JADE James Smallwood can't remember why he started screaming and fighting with his best friend Ashley Terrance William Duncan in front of the Commercial Hotel.

However, his actions landed him in Kingaroy Magistrates Court on October, 28 charged with public nuisance, obstructing police and stealing.

Police arrived at the brawl at 12.30am on September 21 as up to 20 people gathered in front of The Com on Haly St, Kingaroy where smaller fights had broken out and nine people were arrested by police.

When police moved Smallwood's best friend to the ground to be handcuffed, the keys for the police car were dropped.

Police prosecutor Pepe Gangemi said Smallwood picked up the keys and when an officer grabbed him by the shirt and demanded he give back the keys, Smallwood held them away from police.

Smallwood was pepper sprayed but continued to refuse to return the keys.

When the keys were returned to police, Smallwood ran away from officers.

He was handcuffed after a physical confrontation and struggle.

Sgt Gangemi called on the magistrate to deliver a sentence that would meet the expectations of the community and deter Smallwood from committing an offence in the future.

"The community expectations would be very much at the forefront of this style of behaviour. "If someone gets the keys to a police vehicle at a brawl then police are left without the means to secure other parties at the fight, plus the loss the community would suffer if that vehicle was damaged in any way," he said.

Defence lawyer Mark Oliver said the 34-year-old father of four had suffered as a result of the offence, losing his job as a taxi driver and the sole bread winner for his family.

Magistrate Louisa Pink said Smallwood, who had a history of public nuisance offences, may have a problem with alcohol.

Smallwood was sentenced to six months' probation on all three charges for the purpose of rehabilitation and a conviction was recorded.

Meanwhile, Duncan was fined $800 and had no conviction recorded for public nuisance and obstruct police after he pulled his arms away from officers before being controlled.

South Burnett


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